Some Thoughts on Libra

Treading the Razor’s Edge

According to esoteric teaching, the Earth is regarded as the turning point or battleground between spirit and matter—a battle in which neither spirit nor matter can emerge victorious. Perfect balance between spirit and matter is the goal of Libra, and the keynote for Libra offers insight into how this balance can be achieved: I choose the way which leads between the two great lines of force. In esoteric teaching, Libra is the sign in which the first real vision of the Path appears, revealing that it is a narrow razor-edged path between the pairs of opposites. Libra shows a Way that can only be trod with a keen sense of values and by using the balancing faculty of the mind.

The recognition that the narrow razor-edged path is one of reconciliation is deep-seated in human consciousness, as seen in the ancient Greek concept of the Golden Mean—the golden way between the extremes of excess and deficiency, and in the Noble Middle Way of Buddhism. The Chinese concept of the Dao is the absolute principle underlying the universe, expressing as yin and yang and visible throughout the natural world. As the daoist sage Zhuangzi put it, “’This’ is also ‘that’ and ‘that’ is also ‘this’. The ‘that’ is on the one hand also ‘this’, and ‘this’ is, on the other hand, ‘that’….When ‘this’ and ‘that’ do not stand against one another, this is called the pivot of the Dao.” Hidden within these (perhaps inscrutable] words is the recognition that the Way, the Path, the Dao, requires balance, equilibrium, and a sense of constant movement. The Way is without an end or culmination; it’s a spiral, not a linear progression. Every stage of achievement reveals that the light lies ever on ahead, like a distant beacon on a shore that is constantly shifting.

As the writings of Alice Bailey put it, “the seeker has to learn to distinguish between the truth and the truths, between knowledge and wisdom, between reality and illusion.” Throughout the human experience this process swings between duality, a relative unity, and a higher and deeper duality. Once this is grasped, even if only partially, the need for compromise in human affairs becomes unavoidable. Some years ago the American historian Richard Hofstadter wrote of the dangers created when politics is seen only as a strategy for winning, ignoring the central and enduring reality of conflict. “Human society”, Hofstadter wrote, “is a form of equipoise based upon the continuing process of compromise. It shuns ultimate showdowns and looks upon the ideal of total partisan victory as unattainable, as merely another variety of threat to the need for balance….It is sensitive to nuance and sees things in degrees”, he said, rather than as fundamentalisms and absolutes. Those words from more than sixty years ago were never more true than today.

Navigating a way between the pairs of opposites becomes possible when one understands that the Path is a spiral and therefore contains both the good and the greater good, lesser principles and greater principles. This realization makes even the most cherished “fundamentalisms” and beliefs of limited viability, not because they are necessarily false but because they contain only a kernel of an infinitely greater truth concealed within them. When reconciliation of the pairs of opposites is the goal—when “‘this” and “that” do not stand against each other—the concept of “both and” is recognized as integral to the Way, and a door can open to a higher unity.

The razor-edged Path of spiritual awakening is one of constant movement while retaining equilibrium. On this path a sure and steady footing is the need at every stage if we are not to lose our way. “Let the Plan absorb you but remember at the same time that it works out step by step and that the true helper of the Plan is one who visions as it may be in the cycle of life but who also sees the small and immediate step ahead.” These words of Alice Bailey express the wise balance of the Libran way.



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